Language As Landscape

Adverbs Ahead

“Deadwood” (HBO, 2004-2006) created by David Milch, repelled and astounded me when I caught it adventitiously in re-run several years ago. I couldn’t look away from it as I kept thinking, “What the hell is this? It’s amazing!” I told someone it was as if Shakespeare were cussing obscenely, women would say modestly, “I’m just a whore,” and Ian McShane regularly pissed in a pot before all and sundry. I was let down when it ended abruptly after three seasons.

In his review of the new “Deadwood” movie, James Poniewozik does what I like for a good critic to do: He corroborates an enthusiasm of mine, and states better than I could have done precisely why I liked the thing so much.

… “Deadwood” did not modernize its old-movie types. Just the opposite: Milch created idiosyncratic, quasi-Shakespearean dialogue (and monologues) that combined the diction of a print culture with the dirty funk of the frontier. It was productively alienating — subtitles help — in a way that imagined a world: language as landscape.
(James Poniewozik, “In One Last ‘Deadwood,’ the Future Prevails and the Past Endures,” NYTimes, 5-29-19)

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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